Slump Buster! Kemp Smacks Three Hits To Help Dodgers Snap Skid

Dodgers  7 8 0Orioles    4 10 0WP-Howell-1-0LP-Arrieta-1-1SV-League-5HR-Jones-3*Slump busting makes me feel goooood!*

The Dodgers have finally won a game. I repeat, the Los Angeles Dodgers have actually won a baseball game. Thank god, because I was getting very close to sticking my entire head in the oven. I’m sure there were a lot of other Dodger fans feeling the same way. The Dodgers hadn’t won since last Saturday night. That’s over a week, and six games since. The Dodgers had lost six in a row, and seven of their last eight, including getting swept in yesterday’s doubleheader. So getting today’s win was vital for regaining confidence.

The Dodgers received some more bad news before the game. Just hours before the game began, the Dodgers placed Chad Billingsley on the DL with more elbow pain. Bills elbow had begun to bother him, and the Dodgers didn’t want to take any chances. With Aaron Harang gone, and Chris Capuano on the DL, the Dodgers were forced to call-up and start Stephen Fife. We’ll have more on this tomorrow.

I still don’t think Fife is as bad as everyone makes him out to be, but obviously starting Fife in Baltimore desperately needing a win to snap their losing streak seemed destined for failure. However while Fife was mediocre, the Dodger lineup finally came through. Fife was removed with two outs in the fifth inning. He allowed four runs, on seven hits, and whiffed five, but came away with a no-decision. Opposing starter Jake Arrieta didn’t factor in to the decision as well, as he battled control problems, and only lasted four frames.

Kemp got three hits today-Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore scored three runs in the top of the first inning, thanks to Fife’s wildness. Fife allowed four hits, a hit batter, and a wild pitch, to allow three runs to score. A nick Markakis RBI single, and a two-run single from J.J. Hardy accounted for the scorage in the first inning. Baltimore added one more, on a booming home run from Adam Jones, in the third. After that, the Orioles would not score for the rest of the game.

The Dodgers would rally, first to tie, then to take the lead. The Dodgers scored four runs in the fifth inning. They got two walks, a hit batter, a two-run single from Mark Ellis, an RBI double from Gonzalez, and an RBI single from Kemp. Mark Ellis was the hero of today’s game. He drove in three runs, and made a great defensive play in the eighth inning to help stop a potential Baltimore rally. Matt Kemp finally seemed to break out and had a good game. Kemp had three hits on the day, going 3 for 5 with an RBI, and a run scored.

To top of off, the bullpen that has been mostly ineffective this season, was able to pitch 4.1 innings of scoreless ball, and the Dodgers win 7-4! Losing streak snapped! Here’s how it happened……

Top of the first-Stephen Fife is predictably awful in the top of the first inning, allowing three runs on four hits, a hit batter, and a wild pitch. Nate McLouth leads off with a bloop single to left. With Manny Machado at the plate, a wild pitch advances McLouth to second. Nick Markakis singles to center to score McLouth to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead. Adam Jones is hit by a pitch in the arm. Then Chris Davis a line drive single to right loads the bases. After Matt Wieters whiffs on a foul tip, J.J. Hardy’s two-run single scores Markakis, and Jones to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

The Dodgers finally score in the top of the third off of Jake Arrieta. A.J. Ellis walks, and Skip Schumaker singles him to third. For once the Dodgers actually go from first to third on hits, which is something I have written about them needing to do more often. After Sellers whiffs, Crawford walks to load the bases. Mark Ellis’s sacrifice fly scores A.J. The Dodgers trail 3-1. Matt Kemp is whiffed to end the inning.

Stephen Fife is back in the rotation. Joy.-Photo from Gail Burton

Fife falters again in the bottom of the third. With one out, Adam Jones takes Fife deep to center field. Third home run of the season for Jones, as Baltimore extends their lead to 4-1. Jones taps his arm, but it is not related to being plunked by Fife earlier in the game. Some people had thought it was, but apparently according to twitter, Jones always taps his arm after each home run, which is a tribute to his mom. In the frame, Davis singles, but the Dodgers get out of it by inducing Wieters to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.

Move to the top of the fifth. The Dodgers finally break through and score four runs in the inning, as Arrieta loses his command. Here is how it happened. Schumaker walks, and Sellers is hit by a pitch. Crawford walks as well to load the bases. Mark Ellis the star of this game, smacks a base knock to center which scores Schuamker, and Sellers to cut the Baltimore lead to 4-3. Baltimore makes a pitching change. They remove the wild Arrieta, and bring in T.J. Mcfarland. Gonzalez doubles off the glove of the sliding McLouth in left. The left fielder had tried to make a diving catch on the slicing liner, but it bounces off his glove. Crawford scores the tying run, and M.Ellis goes to third. Matt Kemp’s base hit scores M.Ellis to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.

Fife comes out for the bottom of the fifth with a one-run lead, but is unable to finish the inning to go the required five frames to qualify for the win. McLouth walks, but Fife gets Machado to ground into a double play. But with two outs, Markakis singles. Mattingly hooks Fife, and calls in J.P. Howell to turn Jones around and pitch to Davis. Jones singles, but Howell gets Davis to whiff to end the frame.

Fife goes 4.2 innings, allows four runs on seven hits, walks one, and whiffs five. The youngster made 80 pitches.

Matt Guerrier pitches a scoreless bottom of the sixth, and we move ahead to the seventh inning.

The Dodgers add an insurance run in the top of the seventh. With Mcfarland still on the mound, Kemp singles. After Ethier whiffs for the third time on the day, and Hairston pops out, Kemp steals second. A.J. singles through the hole between first and second, which scores Kemp all the way from second base. More good base running! Kemp slides in just ahead of a cannon throw from right fielder Markakis, who has a gun. Kemp slides in hands first beating the tag by a hare, to extend the Dodgers lead to 6-4.

Paco Rodriguez gets three straight ground-ball outs in the bottom of the seventh, to preserve the Dodger lead. Move to the bottom of the eighth, with the Dodgers still leading 6-4. Kenley Jansen comes in to pitch, and starts the frame by getting Jones to fly out. However Chris Davis, who is red hot, doubles off the wall in center.But, Mark Ellis saves the Dodger’s bacon with a great backhanded stop of a Wieters grounder up the middle. Hardy grounds out as well for the third out.

The Dodgers decide to add one more run just to make sure. Remember no lead is safe. Gonzalez, and Kemp with back-to-back singles off of Pedro Strop. Ethier’s grounder advances the runners, and then Gonzalez scores on a Hairston sac fly, to make it a 7-4 Dodger lead.

Brandon League comes on to save it in the bottom of the ninth. Ryan Flaherty flies out. Nolan Reimold singles, but McLouth flies out, and Machado grounds into a force to end the game. The Dodgers win! Final score-7-4. The Dodgers improve to 8-10 on the season.

Ellis drove in three runs today with a two-run single, and sac fly-Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

J.P. Howell vultures the win in relief, and Brandon League picks up the save. The Dodgers score seven runs on eight hits. They ran the bases well, A.J. Ellis went from first to third on a hit in the third, which led to a run. Then Bison scored from second on a single in the seventh, which plated a much needed insurance run. Hey what do you know? Proper base running leads to runs being scored. The Dodgers were 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position, and left nine men on base.

This was a game the Dodgers had to win. Of course there are no must win games in April, but there may have been a mutiny if the club didn’t win this one. I was almost beginning to think that the Dodgers just aren’t going to be competitive this year. This win at least gives us hope. I know it’s going to take more than just one good game to change our perceptions of the club since their poor start, but at least it’s something positive to build upon. However it’s going to take much more than just one measly win. It’s going to take several wins, and several good games strung together to get the Dodgers back to competitiveness.

The team will now fly to New York to take on the Mets in a three game series, which will conclude the road-trip. The Dodgers are off on Monday, and then the series begins Tuesday night. Join us on Tuesday as the Dodgers play the Mets at a 4:05 PM start time. Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers, while the Mets will counter with Jonathon Niese. Celebrate good times Dodger fans! The losing streak is finally over!